Dance practice, education and research are fields that are progressively gaining impetus in the Nordic countries. Dance is practised in different ways throughout the Nordic societies as a form of art and recreation. In addition to the performance and workshop activities of various dance venues and festivals, the countries host numerous programs with an interest in educating dance artists, educators and scholars. Practitioners engage in active exploration of various forms of creating, performing and teaching dance. They gather to share their views and to learn new approaches in various courses and festivals. Furthermore, the academic research in dance in the Nordic countries within different academic faculties and disciplines contributes to developing a critical understanding of dance. The Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research has been created to support the dissemination of ideas and exchange between dance professionals both at a practical and scholarly level. The journal looks into dance through a wide lens appreciating different forms of dance and ways of articulating dance knowledge; both practically and scholarly.
The journal’s connection to Dance in Education Nordic Network
In 2007 representatives from dance education institutions and organisations from Iceland, Norway and Denmark held a first Nordic meeting and formed the Dance in Education Nordic Network (DENN). During 2008 and 2009 the network met at different occasions with the inclusion of representatives from Finland.The objective of the network is to unite, share and strengthen the development of dance in education in the Nordic countries. This is achieved by bringing together expertise across borders, sharing ideas about pedagogical strategies and concrete methods and by promoting dialogue, collaboration and exchange in dance teacher training across the Nordic countries and thereby promoting dialogue and collaboration.
The idea of launching the Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research arose during these meetings in DENN which is supported financially by the Nordic Culture Fund. Until 2008 the Norwegian association Dans i Skolen (DiS) had in collaboration with the association for music educators published the journal Arabesk which unfortunately had to close. The Danish association Dans i Uddannelse had published the journal Tidsskrift for Dans i Uddannelse for the first time in 2007 together with the publishing company Bavnebanke and in 2008 it was wholly financed by the association. Both of these associations for professionals working within the area of dance and education had a need to offer a new publication to their members. The associations wished to join forces and to expand the editorial group with members from the other Nordic countries. During meetings held in DENN, this idea has been worked on as well as collaboration between the parties involved.
The first editorial board meeting was held in March 2009. Representatives from Finland, Denmark and Norway participated. Other meetings have been held at occasions where most of the editorial board members were gathered for other events. In November 2009 the Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research received financial support from the Nordic Culture Fund and together with funding from Dans i Skolen (Norway) and Dans i Uddannelse (Denmark), it is now possible to publish the first issue of the journal.
A Nordic context with international relevance
The goal of DENN is to achieve a distribution of the journal in the Nordic countries and internationally through memberships in the organisations involved as well as through subscription. The aim is to publish 500 copies once a year to begin with, increasing to twice a year and a larger number of copies within a period of 2-3 years. Because it was necessary to bridge the gap felt by the members of the Norwegian Dans i Skolen after the closing of their journal Arabesk, the second issue of the journal will be published already in November 2010. Dans i Skolen has been and will continue to be the administrator of the financial and practical commitments of the work as regards the first two issues.
The target groups for the journal are members of the associations Dans i Skolen, Dans i Uddannelse, members of the Nordic Forum for Dance Research (NOFOD) and members of dance associations in Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Further target groups are schools, colleges, universities, freelance teachers, artists, and companies primarily in the Nordic countries. It is our hope however that libraries, dance practitioners and researchers worldwide also will find the journal relevant.
The content of the first issue
To cover the interests of the various readers, the editorial board has created a journal with two sections; one for articles written by practitioners from the field of dance education and one for peer-reviewed articles of dance research from any theoretical or scientific perspective. However, all target groups may find an interest in both sections as research should serve to help develop practise and practise also brings information to the research and inspires researcher to initiate new projects. Within the field of dance it is very relevant to nurture the close connection between practise and research because the boundaries are gradually becoming blurry with new research methodologies like arts-based research, etc.
The first issue of the Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research includes seven articles by dance practitioners and scholars. The texts reflect the work being carried out within dance and education in the Nordic countries. They especially focus upon conceptions of dance and pedagogy from the teachers’ and practitioners’ perspective. The practical articles by Caroline Wahlström Nesse and Camilla Myhre, Elisabeth Sjöstedt Edelholm, Vicky Clausen and Isto Turpeinen introduce several dance projects conducted with children, youngsters and professionals either across or within one of the Nordic countries. They simultaneously introduce approaches to fostering the artistry, creativity, self-confidence and subjective agency of diverse dance students and related challenges in the teacher-student relationship.
The research papers by Gunn Engelsrud, Tone Østern and Lis Engel & Rikke Jeppesen address and analyse experiences gained through movement in dance classes and the importance of being sensitive to the spatial and linguistic dimensions applied in the meeting with different and differently bodied students.
We hope you will enjoy reading our first issue of Nordic Journal of Dance: Practice, Education and Research.